The Look: From Afro-American early ‘70s Funk style Disco all the way through Saturday Night Fever the predominant look is tight, sexy and aspirational – e.g. spray can fit on the bottom matched with expensive, ultra-wide collared, pictorial ‘Nik Nik’ shirts. And that’s just for the men. Tight and sexy was also popular in the other keystone of early ‘70s Disco, the Gay clubs of NYC – but here was also the beginnings of the ultra macho lumberjack shirts and huge moustaches of the Gay ‘Clone’ look.
The Time: Early ‘70s – goes mainstream and global in 1977 with release of Saturday Night Fever.
The Place: Afro-American urban neighbourhoods – especially New York and Chicago + the Gay Disco clubs of New York which sprang up after the Stonewall Riots of 1969 which inhibited police harassment and promoted ‘Gay Pride’.
Influenced: Although easily mocked, did a lot towards liberating masculine sartorial expression.
The idea of and the word for a place for dancing and drinking and clubbing which has a ‘DJ’ (‘disc jockey’) playing records (discs) rather than a live band – a discothèque – goes back all the way to Paris during WWII. The occupying Germans didn’t approve of ‘decadent’ (i.e. American, black, Jewish) jazz and, unable to employ live bands, the many enthusiastic jazz fans of Paris had no choice but to gather in clandestine little joints where a primitive PA might be employed to pump up the volume. After the war it was also pioneering Parisian clubs like Whisky a Go Go which became the model for discothèques and discos all over the world.